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Girl Irate After Neurodivergent Brother Eats Most Of The Birthday Cupcakes Meant For Her Class

Boy eating chocolate cupcakes
Image Source/Getty Images

Whether parents are willing to admit it or not, parenting is an endlessly complicated endeavor.

One task parents will always fail at, at least to an extent, is not showing favoritism to one of their children, including when one child has special needs and another doesn’t, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Throwaway-Song-5954 knew that her sister and brother-in-law were doing their best with their two children, including their neurodivergent son.

So when her niece was furious with her parents for allowing her younger brother to ruin one of her birthday plans, the Original Poster (OP) challenged her niece to be kind to her parents.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for telling my 12-year-old niece to not make life any harder for her mom?”

The OP’s sister and brother-in-law struggled to juggle their parenting with other obligations.

“I (40 Female) have a 12-year-old niece and an 8-year-old high-needs Neurodivergent (ND) nephew. They are my sister’s kids (37 Female).”

“My niece’s birthday was yesterday, and she has cupcakes ready to bring to her class.”

“My nephew doesn’t sleep well at all, and both his parents are up with him a lot of the night and very sleep-deprived.”

Their situation recently impacted the OP’s niece’s birthday.

“My nephew snuck downstairs yesterday morning before everyone was up and ate most of the cupcakes (his parents forgot to lock the cabinet; as I said, they’re very sleep deprived). BIL works about 60 hours a week as a physician, and my sister is a SAHM (Stay-at-Home Mom).”

“My niece called me from her cell (we’re very close, and I only live five miles away), sounding hysterical, and I could also hear my nephew having a meltdown in the background and his parents trying to calm him down.”

“She was understandably upset because it was her birthday, and she was supposed to be bringing cupcakes to the class.”

“Neither of her parents would be able to replace the cupcakes on time as my sister had to take my nephew to a doctor’s appointment (they would’ve been there a number of hours) and her dad had several surgeries lined up that day, and couldn’t get out of work.”

“We also live in a rural area that doesn’t have UberEATS or DoorDash.”

The OP came up with a quick solution to help her niece.

“My partner (42 Female) owns the local bakery and was able to go in early to make impromptu cupcakes for my niece, and my partner would deliver them to her school (I too couldn’t get out of work).”

“So I told my niece not to worry and that I would take care of it, but to please lay off her parents. I explained that their lives are hard enough with her brother being the way he is and that she shouldn’t make things any more difficult for them because they’re so burnt out and overwhelmed.”

This advice raised concerns among the family.

“She got angry with me because she said her parents were ‘careless’ in forgetting to lock the cabinet.”

“I told her it was an honest mistake that anyone could make.”

“My partner thinks I shouldn’t have said that because she’s just a child.”

“This is true, but her parents are literally hanging by a thread, and I’m trying to help the only way I know how.”

“Her parents thanked us profusely for coming to the rescue with her cupcakes and offered to pay, but we declined, saying it was on the house.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes here

Some thought the OP was right to assist her niece with baked goods and advice.


“In your niece’s defense, she’s 12. She’s a child on the verge of plunging into hormone soup.”

“But it’s important to tell kids to cool it when they start acting like little turds. She called her parents ‘careless.’ Why doesn’t she bake her own cupcakes next time and store them under her bed for safety?”

“Entitled children grow up to be entitled adults. Don’t hold this against her, and do something nice with her that doesn’t involve her brother. But when she needs to be put in her place, put her in her place.” – TheOtherMrEd

“NTA, you helped her replace the cupcakes, and as long as you were kind and didn’t dig into her too hard, it isn’t the end of the world to try to help be a moral compass for a tweenager/teen.”

“I remember adults in my teenage life gently letting me know when I was being unreasonable, and I appreciate it (often I didn’t realize how much of a jerk I was being).”

“I get that others are saying that siblings of special needs kids are usually overlooked. I’ve noticed it to be true, so continue to be a supportive aunt, but if she is being out of line or rude, continue to let her know and move on gently.” – Electrical_Storage81

“NTA. The only thing you’re guilty of is asking her to be forgiving of her parents’ mistake. You did not punish her, did not scold her for being mad at her parents, and it seems like you simply asked her to be considerate of them.”

“Now, she IS completely valid in being upset, especially considering she’s probably been overlooked most of her life due to her family circumstances, but I don’t think you’re an a**hole for asking for her forgiveness on her parents’ behalf.”

“You went above and beyond in making sure her birthday was good despite the complications, and I don’t think you’re automatically an a**hole for your one comment.” – Additional_Win3920

“NTA. Unless you were mean about it, all you did was tell a kid something they were DEFINITELY old enough to hear. She’s a kid, yeah, but 12 is old enough to understand, or learn, about burdens and responsibilities, etc.”

“When I was 12, I understood that my parents were broke and unhappy. I figured it out through context and being told things. Like that we couldn’t afford that new Barbie I wanted. And it was IMPORTANT for me to understand. Because my younger sister, at age 9, actually WAS too young to really understand, and I could tell it broke my dad’s heart to tell us no when we wanted something, especially when it wasn’t very expensive.”

“By knowing I, at least, could stop asking for things I didn’t need. I could gently dissuade my sister from asking for the more expensive option, like, ‘Yeah, that one is super cool, but this [less expensive] one is even better because…’ Doing that wasn’t my responsibility as a child, but it was an important part of growing up and becoming an empathetic person.”

“The point is that age 12 is old enough to understand that her parents aren’t perfect, that her brother didn’t mean to upset her, and being mad and laying into them (which I’m guessing based on the context happened) doesn’t help.”

“Of course, no one should expect her just to flip a switch and suddenly not be mad or upset about it, but often (as much as we just want someone to validate us), we NEED the reminder that while like sucks, people are not vindictively going out of their way to make it suck (well… not in this case anyway). You gave her a gentle reminder that s**t happens.”

“Her brother is gonna keep being high needs, her parents will still be burned out, and the only one who can make her feel better about the difficulties involved in all that, in the end, is gonna be her. Which sucks, but that’s life. Sometimes the easiest way to not be mad about something is to realize it’s not worth it and CHOSE not to be mad. You’ve given her the information she needs to make that choice.” – Immutable_Whimsy

“NTA, but also not great.”

“Yes, you saved the day in the matter of the cupcakes, but I can tell you for sure this is not the first time your niece has felt like she is being let down by her parents.”

“I speak as a parent who has two kids, one of whom has severe ADHD. This called for a lot of our attention during the early when his older sister often felt neglected. As much as she would say she understood or that it was not a big deal, there were times it got her. While we, as her parents, did the best we could, we know it was not enough.”

“Same here with your niece. She needs to be the center of attention at times too. She needs to feel like she is not pushed aside because her brother needs this or that.”

“Just try to be there for her, maybe take on your nephew when you can to let her parents focus on her. It’s always a hard situation to be an older sibling to someone who is ND.” – evilcj192

But others found the OP’s advice to be incredibly problematic for her niece.


“My experience is that when a high-needs child eats up all of the energy and time and attention, the other child is told to stuff their feelings down at that age, and it emerges somewhere else in life. For a couple of my students, it ended very, very badly.”

“Her feelings are valid. She’s too young to get over it for her parents like an adult. I agree with your partner.”

“I don’t know what the ‘high needs’ are, but you might cover for the parents sometime so they can sleep. Help them find a respite caregiver, take the niece out away from the chaos.” – Littlebriggan

“YTA. This girl has not been her parents’ priority for eight years now and likely won’t ever be again. She’s lost so much of her childhood as the sibling of a high-needs ND kid. And now you, too, are expecting her to parent her parents?”

“I feel for her parents, I do, but it’s not their pre-teen’s job to soothe their egos when she has to suffer in silence.” – Elle_Vetica

“YTA. She is 12, a child. She is reacting as a child would. She was not trying to make anyone’s life more difficult, and that’s not an appropriate thing to say.”

“Children’s brains are not as developed as ours. This was not her fault. You need to speak to her in a way appropriate for her age. Her parents being burnt out is on them, not the child.” – JMarie113

“YTA. You basically told your niece to suck it up and that her feelings don’t matter. Having a high-needs ND brother means she’s spent most of her life having to suck it up and get less attention, less care, less consideration, and less of a ‘right’ to have a normal childhood because of him.”

“It’s not his fault, it’s not her parents’ fault, but it doesn’t soothe the emotional angst of a young girl who just had her birthday ruined because, yes, her parents were careless, because they were understandably tired.”

“They need support. But not from a 12-year-old child. She didn’t need a lecture or a reprimand. She needed someone on her side to put her feelings and emotions as a priority and acknowledge HER. It was nice y’all got her new cupcakes… but the cupcakes debacle wasn’t really about the cupcakes.” – Tizzery

“It’s really hard. You don’t intentionally neglect your neurotypical kids. It’s just that the ND kid requires so much time and attention. My husband and I work really hard to try and make sure we still spend quality time with my stepsons, and I take on a lot more work for our ND daughter during the days that his sons are with us so that he can spend more quality time with them.”

“It’s exhausting, and we’re drowning most of the time. We have been blessed with an opportunity to take our daughter to a summer camp specifically for special needs children at the beach this summer so we can spend the days on the beach with our boys while our daughter is at camp, and then she’ll join us for family time in the evenings.”

“But camps that can handle special needs kids are very expensive. This one will cost $2,500 for a week (we were able to get state funding but otherwise would not be able to afford it), so it’s not an option for everyone. Additionally, there is a 2-year waitlist for respite through ID services in my state. So parents who don’t have a village may really be struggling from lack of resources.”

“Nonetheless, YTA because your niece’s feelings are valid and she needed to be validated at that moment, not to be told to hide her feelings and suck it up.” – Comprehensive-Sea-63

The subReddit could understand that this was hardly a simple situation with an easy, straightforward answer, but they were still deeply divided over how the OP handled the situation.

While some could understand the OP’s approach, others were concerned about the message she was sending to her niece, who likely was already being held to higher standards.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.